Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not what you want, but what He says

I'm still reeling from the wisdom and challenges shared at church today. So much rolling through my mind, and I'm overwhelmed with the reminder of what the Christian life, the Christian walk is.

I can guarantee you one thing, this life is not easy. And you know what, it shouldn't be! God never said that we would walk this earth with ease and comfort, no, he over and over challenges us to daily pick up our crosses and walk on.


When the going gets tough, that's not when we walk away from God. No, it's the time that we take up our crosses - meaning our broken hearts, our disappointments, our hurts, our fears, our losses - whatever we hold dear, we count it ALL as lost. The stripping away of something can and should be used for our refining, if we allow it to.

The Christian life is a privilege. It's a gift. It's a tender, sweet relationship with the One and Only. Just like we care for and tend to our closest relationships, so we should care and tend to our relationship with Jesus. Just as we put our boyfriends/girlfriends/families/friends in a position of importance, so should our relationship with our Savior look. It's DYING to our self and UNITING with Him.

And what does that look like? Most often, it means not doing what we "feel" like. It means not getting what we "want". It means a heck of a lot of waiting. It means a heck of a lot of patience and persisitence being born. It means trusting in the visions and promises of the Lord. It means believing the unseen wonders when the seen world says everything but. It means holding onto hope while letting go of personal expectations. It means laying down our dreams and desires for a season or forever, so that His glorious good and grace can shine through.


It means speaking up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. It means standing in the gap for other's when they know not what they're doing. It means interceding for the lives of others when they have no words. It means loving, caring, carrying, encouraging, building up, discipling others. It means placing our own sinful selves in the refiner's fire and allowing him to strip us of all we hold dear.

And in the process of DOING these things, as we take action, He speaks. As we live our lives, He moves. As we press on towards the prize, as it says in Hebrews 12, He gives us the endurance, the strength, the drive to make it to the end of the race, victorious. And what we must never forget is that VICTORY is ours. Period. End of story. God gives us the victory, whether we see it this side of heaven or not. We can rest assured knowing that He holds it all in His hands and uses every scrape, bump, bruise, pain for His everlasting good.

He is working, my friends.
He is moving.

He's moving mountains we cannot see in deeply hidden souls. He's mighty to save. He's a God of the impossible. He makes ALL things new. He takes what man says "never" and says "always". He takes the broken promises of man and restores them with His everlasting promises. He takes the broken and gives them rest. He gives voice to the fatherless and widows. He speaks. He Works. And oh how He LOVES!

He is working in our waiting.

But what we must remember as followers of Christ is the Commission given to each of us, found in Matthew 28: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you ALWAYS to the very end of the age."

Friends, if you call yourself a follower of Christ, your life should look different! It should be a light to other's who don't know the Lord. We are the walking examples, the living, breathing, in the flesh beings Christ uses to bring others to Him. And if we're living our lives the same as everyone around us, doing whatever we want, whenever we want without ANY regard for what the outsiders looking in see, we are NOT living our lives as He has called us to.

How are we to make disciples and teach them everything Christ commands, if we don't even take His calling and commands seriously? How are we to  be a light when our life is filled with darkness? How are we to be Christ's ambassadors if we're living inside the enemy camp?

And again I go back to - IT IS NOT EASY! It's not easy. It's not fun sometimes. We may very well get ridiculed for the very things we hold dear. But we must, I implore you, we MUST choose daily to follow and lead as Christ would have us do. There is NO room for lukewarm. There is no gray. There is no wishy-washy about it. You're either in fully or your not. You either choose diligence and sacrifice, love and encouragement, or you don't.

Diligence and sacrifice may be getting up earlier just to spend a few moments with Jesus before you start your day. It may be walking away from an addiction to porn or alcohol or food or whatever other vice you may have. It may be choosing joy despite the circumstances of your life. It may be facing the hidden heartaches that are buried deep within. It may be inviting the Lord into the depths of the soul in order to bring healing to the hurts and disappointments found there. And it may very well be daily choosing Christ.

Don't even try to justify ANYTHING less than what He has called you to, my friends. Justification is not the answer. No, those are called excuses. That's your human armor, your defenses rising up in you. Refiner's fire it not an enjoyable experience. I don't know about you, but the last time I checked walking through fire is not comfortable. It hurts, it burns, but it's necessary to clear out the dross of our souls and make us more like Him, His image bearers!

He has a plan. He is working. He is waiting for those who will rise up and stand in the gap for His plans. So, what's it going to be? What life will you choose? Which path will you follow?

I can leave you with is that everything of this life is worth it. Everything He leads us through, every struggle, tear, pain, hurt, disappointment - everything will be worth it....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Love. No Question

It hit me today, hearts are sensitive, especially when it comes to love....

Let me explain that a bit better. I realize now that once I open my heart up to someone (whether a friend or a relationship), to love them, to stand beside them, once my heart goes there, I'm 100% dedicated. I won't be shaken. It takes a lot for that committment and love to fade once my heart has gone there. And oftentimes, it means me loving far beyond the relationship. My heart is a tender place and it doesn't let the people it loves go easily.

Love, to me, is something that I may very well have towards someone for the rest of my life. And no, it's not always some type of romantic "I love you, goo goo ga ga" kind of love. No, it's a deeply rooted love of the heart and soul of another. It's a love that's often times unexplainable. And I'm the type of girl that will tell someone I love them whether I've known them a week or a lifetime. For I don't ever want an opportunity to care for someone go wasted. And if I'm the only love, the only care, the only hugs, encouragement, support that people see this side of heaven, then heck, I will spend the rest of my life looking a fool for loving someone. There is no other choice. No other option. I can't not love.

Many times the natural world would tell me someone doesn't deserve my love for this reason or that. They would say that my love should fade over time, that I can't just love someone for the sake of loving them. But what about all those words in the Word of God that say "love your brother" or heck, the one's that say "love your enemies". Shoot... that's no easy task, the last time I checked! If we call ourselves Christ followers, we're obligated and required to love. You don't get to pick and choose. You don't get to judge. No, you must love. Period. End of story.

So, dear friends, please know that I love you. Regardless of what you've done, or where you've come from, or where we've been. I can't not love you. As Paul writes in I Corinthians 13 - "faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love." The GREATEST thing we can do for one another is love.

I leave you with this...

Love is Patient
Love is Kind
It does not envy
It does not boast
It is not proud
It is not rude
It is not self-seeking
It is not easily angered
It keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices in the Truth
It always protects
Always trusts
Always hopes
Always perseveres.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To you, my friends...

To you, my friends, I write my heart. To those who have come in my life for a moment, a season, or a lifetime, I write. For today and each time I remember you, I'm thankful for the wisdom you shared and the memories we created.

To you, Laura - for your continual sacrifice of love and grace to a girl deeply wounded from a tainted past. For being the very spirit of Jesus in my life - showing me continual encouragement and forgiveness. For being the best 1st roommate a girl could ask for. For these things - I thank you, woman of grace.

To you, Jenny - for the countless nights of tears, listening ears, and simple reminders of the truth. For being the one to share so many memories with me. For encouraging and laughing with me through the years - I thank you, woman of understanding.

To you, Cortney - for being my voice of sanity in times of trial. For your faithfully believing and trusting heart. For choosing me to be your roommate. For loving me despite my days and nights of tears, insecurities, and fears. For the adventures, for the dreams, the visions and desires for God's kingdom come. For being a woman of steadfast, unshakeable faith. For being the friend I've always prayed for - I thank you, woman of faith.

To you, Caitlin - for teaching me to camp and love all things outdoors. For taking me on life's adventures throughout our childhood and into adulthood. For being my listening ear and clarity speaker when life seemed most confusing. For standing beside me in every decision, even the one's we didn't agree on. For being my kindred spirit - I thank you, woman of adventure.

To you, Brandy - for your spunk, your open vulnerability, your heart for His. For being the friend who so often meets me right where I am and brings me laughs when I need them most. For being a friend who has become a sister to me - I thank you, woman of strength.

To you, Callie - for sharing your sweet heart with me and opening up to new friendship. Your love for our sweet Jesus, your patience, and your care are remarkable gifts in my life. For all the memories and to sharing a birthday month - I thank you, woman with a heart for Jesus. 

To you, Jenny Sue - for being my shoulder to cry on, my sister in my deepest moments of pain, my confidante in the struggles and fears I faced as a child. For being one of my biggest protectors from those that have hurt me and for defending me when no one else would. For loving me regardless the distance or issue - I thank you, sister and friend.

To you, Jennifer - for living your life as a wife and mother with open honesty and tender mercy. For your insight, prayers and care for a woman you barely knew - I thank you, woman of joy.

To you, Kevin Michael - for showing a girl what true pursuit is. For bringing such joy to my life. For being a gentleman and a friend. For the man you are, who cares deeply for those he loves. For showing me your heart and protecting mine in the process. For being such a good man - I thank you, man of integrity. 

To you, Matthew David - for being my best guy friend and 'brother' in the midst of the deepest heartaches of my life. For listening and giving advice when I knew not what to do. For reminding me over and over that I'm worth fighting for. For being an example of true masculinity - I thank you, man of character.

To you, Steven Carter - for being the man who showed me what a real Christian man is. For living your life with such open honesty before me. For sharing your heart, your questions, your desires, your love with me. For being a good man - I thank you, man of God.

To you, Matthew Steven - for showing me how to laugh and live openly, freely. For sharing your family with me and allowing me to learn from their amazing example. For being a man who saw beyond my flaws- I thank you, man of grace.

To you, Catherine - for opening my eyes to the spiritual truths that surround me daily. For journeying with me through some of the darkest points of my past. For choosing to love me regardless of what comes up. For being the mentor, the woman of Proverbs 31 that I have been praying for so long. For being my light when I couldn't see it - I thank you, woman of Faith.

To you, Deb - for showing me that purity lost is not identity in Christ lost. For laughing, adventuring, running, dancing, eating, etc... with me. For listening to my crazy confusing heart and for encouraging me through life's difficulties. For being a true friend - I thank you, woman of love.

To you, Alec - for reminding me of what I'm worth and what I deserve. For living your life as an open example of a man after God's own heart - I thank you, man of God.

To you, Tim - for being a trainer's best cheerleader. For the friend you've been these past 2.5 years. For showing me and encouraging me to follow my dreams. For being such a man of integrity - I thank you, man of Faith. 

To you, Joel - for showing me that with diligence, hard work, and the Lord by your side the impossible becomes possible. For living your ministry as your life. For your heart and allowing it to show up. For being the friend to teach me the ropes in everything from faith to Crossfit - I thank you, man of persistence. 

To you, Christopher - for encouraging me to write, to continue to pursue Christ, and to live my life as an open example of His grace and love. For being my biggest cheerleader - I thank you, man of Faith.

To you, Wendy - for being my "mom of guidance" when it seemed I had no one else to turn to, to talk to. I thank you, mother and mentor.

To you, Kathleen - for all the watermelon stool chats. For your advice and wisdom through the years. For standing beside a silly young woman who just wanted an adventure. And for still asking the tough questions - I thank you, mama and friend.

To you, Fred - for taking a college student and teaching her the ropes of owning a small business. For being a fatherly figure to a girl who didn't have her own. For protecting, guiding, and encouraging me to pursue the life Christ called me to. For being such a wonderful boss for over 4 years - I thank you, man of generosity.

I could keep going with more people who have walked into my life for a moment, but I felt it necessary to first write to those who have left an irreplaceable mark on my heart. Each of you, every one, has taught me and given me so incredibly much. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your love, your care, your trust, and your friendship through the years. Whether we talk often or not at all, please know that you mean the world to me. I declare God's sweetest blessings from Heaven to be showered on each of you. May He always guide your paths.. may He always be your security, strength, and confidence. 

I love you, my sweet friends. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Look to your heart

Okay, my friend just sent me this post from my mentor and wonderful spiritual mother, Catherine. SUCH wisdom and truth here. Check out Mack and Catherine for all your faith questions/counseling/inner healing at

"If you are looking at external things as the source of your frustration and disappointment, you are missing the mark. When we are in a struggle, we tend to place blame on our spouse, our boss, our job, our finances, him, her, them, it, those, etc. In other words, if she, he or it would turn around, I could be at peace. Sound familiar?

The thing is, all these external things merely reveal what is already in the heart. The external issues don’t so much create the frustration, anger, pain, sorrow, resentment, bitterness, etc. They merely are the catalyst that exposes the issues of the heart.

We can “prop up” our attitude, our behavior and our actions through determination and will only to a point. But when the right amount of stress from external issues piles up, the real condition of the heart will be exposed.

The great news is that God is all about healing the heart! All we need to do is to recognize our need and give Him permission to do what only He can do…Change our heart!

If you see this need in yourself, and you are tired of “posturing, posing and pretending”, then ask God to heal you on the inside, then everything on the outside will take on a whole new perspective!"
Oy... hearts... I tell ya!

Monday, October 3, 2011


That's right folks... it's October 3rd again, and today I turn 26 years old.

I don't know how I got here... a decade ago I got a driver's license. A DECADE!

Today, on this day, my birthday, I find myself a bit cynical, a bit frustrated, a bit, how do I say this delicately? Umm... a bit with the mentality of "screw it". This life certainly hasn't been what I've dreamt or expected. It certainly hasn't been a walk in the park or a cake walk. Nope, it's seemed liked hell on earth at various junctions, that's for sure.

I looked back in my journal today from a year ago. I spent my 25th birthday flying home from a dear friend's wedding in Seattle. I came home to an amazing roommate who bought me cupcakes and sang to me. Blessed by a friendship I've never experienced before - that woman of grace showed me a birthday I never will forget. She remembered, she listened, she loved, and she wrote me one of the sweetest most encouraging cards I've ever read. That's what started the 25th year of life.

In that year I moved into our now "old" apartment with Cortney. And that very December our lives and prayers were answered in the reconciling of the heart of a man for a woman. And suddenly friendships bloomed and I found myself surrounded by one of the most incredible group of people I've ever experienced. We did life together. We celebrated together. We grew together, and all was well with our souls.

However, there was that part of my heart that so longed for companionship, for a "manpanion" if you will. Every birthday for year's I found myself in the same boat... single. And I often have prayed and wondered if God was calling me to be forever single or if he'd ever bring a man into my life. And at the 25th birthday mark I found myself being slowly pursued by someone, but found my own heart not ready for it. My heart was elsewhere for a time, and I blew this guy off for months. Winter came, and still my heart was a "no", spring came and I was still unsure, then the summer months drew near and I found myself falling for this man.

Then there was my home, my family, the friends I left in Seattle. They all seemed to move on and move up in the world, while I sat in California confused and seemingly alone. Relationships faltered, more time passed without interaction and it seemed that maybe I'd lost them. Funny how a life threatening illness brings people together. And that was exactly what happened when my mom went in for brain surgery in February. There were intense moments of me facing the thoughts that she may very well not make it through, and I would somehow have to put the pieces back together. But by God's grace and that prayers of others that woman is fully functional and fully healed.

Let's not forget about the jobs I've had in the past year either. The one that was a corporate joke that ended up laying off half it's staff at the end of 2010 (me included). And the job that I now have and love, most of the time. :-) Oh and the other job I've been able to pursue. That's right, you guessed it, being a certified Crossfit Trainer. How in the WORLD did I ever get into that? Thanks to a few dear friends who introduced me and now I'm convinced and obsessed!

Prayers have been answered in this past years. Dreams have come true. But hardships have also fallen and it seems that I'm walking, yet again, in the dark. I feel that I'm waging war with the enemy of souls as we speak, and the only thing I can do is pray and intercede on behalf of others. I've not once seen so many lives effected the way they have been in the last 3 months. I've never experienced such incredible shifts in human souls. And it seems that one drop in the water has had a ripple effect on nearly everyone I hold near and dear.

Those friends who came into my life in December are now at odds with one another, to the point where I don't know what's going to happen with us. To my hearts ache, that boy and I didn't work out. The Seattle home is no longer what it was for those 2 weeks in February... it's gone back to it's old ways. That job I've so desired has been placed on hold for a time. And I often awake anxiously aware that everything can change in an instant...

And here I sit - 26. I feel I'm in the same place I was last year - confused and seemingly alone (besides the very few that walk this journey with me). And I wonder if He's working for the good when the natural world around me makes absolutely NO sense. I wonder if He'll make all things new. I wonder if this constant giving and taking will ever stop.

But I can't help but remember that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a future and a hope. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand! I have no other choice. I can't wage this war, set foot on these battle lines without Him by my side. These giants are too big to overcome with the human nature. I need a God-sized hope,  a God-sized faith, a God-sized army to walk alongside me if I and all those I'm on my knees for are going to make it to the other side of this journey free, strong and courageous.

So this year, 26, I declare the following:

Walls Tumbling
Breaking hearts
Deep Faith
Ears to hear
Eyes to see
Hearts to understand

And I must choose to "Follow the alternate course, even if the change of plans appears to be absolute folly from the perspective of human wisdom" - Streams in the Desert